Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Our favorite... Black Bean Soup!

This is a soup we can eat all year round!  Usually we like our soups when it is cold outside and the wood stove is cranked up!  Black Bean soup is good with haystacks because it is thicker, it is good as nachos, or it is good just as soup with some fresh cilantro and tortillas.  It soup freezes well and will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days before you want to serve it.  I like to make my black beans ahead of time and have then in the fridge or in the freezer so the dish is quick and easy.  The first part of the post is how I make my black beans.  It is best to make them ahead so this meal is quick and easy or just to have on hand for a quick meal.  And black beans are really good with potatoes or sweet potatoes and steamed vegetables.  So dual post in one!

Having fresh cilantro in the garden or in the fridge is wonderful for this soup!  And the soup can be mild or spicy depending on what you want to put in it.  I make it mild for the kids and then Paul & I add either jarred jalapenos, pico de gallo or hot sauce.

First of all, how to make the black beans... I soak and sprout my legumes, grains and seeds before using them.  It helps with abdominal pain and we absorb the nutrients from the food better when it is soaked and sprouted.  Add 2 cups (or 1 lb bag of black beans) to a 1/2 gallon jar and fill to the top with water.  These sprouting lids can be purchased online or at your local health food store.  And soak overnight or up to 24 hours.

After 24 hours drain off the water and rinse.  The black beans can be used at this time or they can be sprouted for another 1-2 days.  Make sure to rinse the beans 2x a day.  They soak up a lot of water.  From 2 cups of beans they become 5 1/2 - 6 cups of beans after soaking for 24 hours.

After they have been soaked they need to be cooked (cooking them before making the soup is ideal but if cooking in a slow cooker all of the ingredients can be placed in a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours).  I like to use a pressure cooker to cook my legumes because it is quicker and fairly easy.

Add 2 TBS onion powder, 1 tsp garlic powder, 2 TBS chik-like seasoning, 1 TBS cumin, and 5-6 cups of water to the pan and cook for 1-2 hours in a traditional pan on the stove or 6-8 hours on low in a slow cooker or for 15 minutes at pressure in a pressure cooker.

Make sure to add the 5-6 cups of water!  Once the black beans are cooked (cook them ahead of time it is so much easier) prepare the vegetables.

For the Black Bean Soup I like to add several vegetables.  1 large onion, 2 peppers (color of your choice), 2-3 carrots, 1-3 cloves of garlic, 4 oz mushrooms (not pictured, gives it a meaty type texture very delicious).  I like to use a vegetable chopper to make them as small as possible.

And then the kids can help me chop.  Once the vegetables are prepared them can chop them up and of course they like helping.

Saute the vegetables in 1/2 cup of water.  Oil is not necessary because of the water.  Saute for 5-8 minutes or until the vegetables are to desired tenderness.  (When the cooked black beans are added it only needs to heat up so make sure the vegetables are done.)

Then add 1 tsp salt 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional), 1/2 tsp basil, 2 TBS chik-like seasoning, 2 TBS cumin.  Let it saute for 1-2 minutes longer.

Then add the cooked black beans and mash them a few times or use an immersion blender and add another 2-3 cups of water.  And leave on stove for 15-20 minutes to warm up and let flavors mix.

Black Bean Soup

6 c black beans, cooked
1 large onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
4 oz mushrooms, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, diced or shredded
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 tsp basil
2 TBS cumin
2 TBS chik-like seasoning
3+ c water


1. Saute vegetables in ¼ c water on low setting until tender.

2. Add remaining ingredients and 3+ c water until desired consistency.

3. Use a masher or immersion blender and mash/blend a few times.

4. Simmer for 15 - 20 minutes.


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Creamy Vegetables Over Potatoes

Potatoes are such a welcome treat in the colder months but sometimes they can be boring.  I came up with a topping that brings together the vegetables, beans and a comfort type sauce.  This is a great sauce that can also be served over rice or noodles as well, it is very versatile.  My husband said it is kind of like a stroganoff just a healthier version without the dairy.  Also this is a recipe that is good as a leftover, I like to make recipes that can be a leftover at least once a week.  

The sauce is good over rice, noodles, potatoes, sweet potatoes or any other winter squash.  It is a simple one dish meal.

Before I start I like to get the cashews soaking.  Soaked cashews blend up better and seem to make them creamier.

Any combination of vegetables and legumes will work in this.  I used broccoli, carrots, celery, mushrooms, onions, peppers and cooked garbanzo beans.  (I like to have beans and legumes cooked and in the freezer at all times so I can prepare a meal quicker.)  Chop up the vegetables in small pieces (about the size of the garbanzo beans).

Saute the vegetables in 1 cup of water with the lid on for 10 - 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

After cooking for 10 - 15 minutes add the cooked garbanzo beans and cook another few minutes to warm the beans.

While the vegetables are cooking prepare the sauce.  Blend together the soaked cashews, arrowroot powder (or cornstarch), chicken like seasoning, nutritional yeast, salt, and water.  And add blended sauce to the pot of vegetables and garbanzo beans.  

Over medium high heat cook sauce for 5-7 minutes or until desired thickness.

Creamy Vegetables

3/4 cup cashews (+2 cups of water to soak cashews, discard water & rinse after soaking)
1 onion, chopped
1 head broccoli, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
8 oz mushrooms, chopped
1/2 red or orange pepper, chopped
2 cups garbanzo beans (or 1 can)
1 TBS arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
2 TBS chicken like seasoning
2 TBS nutritional yeast flakes
1/4 - 1/2 tsp salt
2 cups water


1. Soak cashews in 2 cups of water while preparing the vegetables.
2. Chop vegetables and cook in 1 cup of water for 10 - 15 minutes or until vegetables are to desired tenderness.  Add garbanzo beans after cooking vegetables for 10-15 minutes.
3. While vegetables are cooking prepare sauce.  Discard water from soaked cashews and rinse.
4. Blend soaked cashews, arrowroot powder, chicken like seasoning, nutritional yeast, salt and water and add to vegetables.
5. Cook sauce for 5 - 7 minutes or until desired thickness.
6. Serve over rice, noodles, potatoes, sweet potatoes, or other winter squash.
7. Also tastes good with a little extra garlic.  Some may be new to the little to no salt will want to add some garlic salt on top of the sauce.

It is a yummy dish and very easy!